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Haryana to produce hockey Olympians, Chauhan leads from the front

Sonipat, Thu, 27 Sep 2007 Mukesh Thapliyal

Newstrack India

SEP 27: It’s pay back time for former India captain Rajesh Chauhan, to its motherland, who hails from Haryana represented country for many years. Chauhan, who played for India in the 1998 World Cup, has formed the Jai Bharat Charitable and Welfare Trust to groom players from the rural parts of the state so that the players, who will be groomed in the academy, will one day win an Olympic gold for the country and restore the golden period of Indian hockey to, where it was.

Chauhan, who plays for Air India in the domestic circuit, is very much aware of the fact that India has not been able to regain its lost glory in the Olympics, as the Indian Hockey team could not be able to win an Olympic gold medal since 1980. It’s been long wait of 27 years and now India is again aiming the target for the next years Beijing Olympics.

Chauhan took the initiative in the state and led from the front despite various hurdles and introduced a hockey academy in the rural places of Haryana seven years back. He started his first academy in Kurar and now the second one at Kasandi in Sonipat, which lies about 60 km out of Delhi, a dusty village in rural Haryana. The people must not be aware of the word ‘hockey’ as the place has a laidback feel, there is hardly any activity on the roads.

But on Sunday the village Kasandi was bustling with activities, with former India international Rajesh Chauhan overseeing activities to accomplish his own unfulfilled and long cherished dream. The young kids were lined up for a game of hockey, as they would not even know in their little hearts, that they might end up playing for India one day.

Talking to Newstrack India correspondent, Chauhan said, ”We want to groom players who think of bringing an Olympic medal to India. The problem at the moment is that most of the players are taking up this game for earning their bread and butter only, not for love and passion. By taking the game to the rural vicinity, we hope to get more kids to take up the game for the sheer love of it”.

Chauhan is optimistic about the yielding results in the coming days as Haryana government coming forward to help and village panchayat is ready to donate the land.

With ‘Chak De’ is been instrumental for the upliftment of this particular game these days in the heart of the common men, many few would know that Rajesh Chauhan was the one, who started to put on an Indian tricolour bandana on his forehead, while representing his country in international matches during his playing days. It pushed him a lot to do much better and also did a world of good for him, that’s what he feels, Chauhan said while sharing his views with Newstrack India.

The Haryana state had lots of hockey internationals and always promoted and backed the sportspersons to attain greater heights. The state had a history of producing great players be it hockey, cricket wrestling, boxing, kabaddi etc. This time also state government will leave no stone unturned to support Rajesh Chauhan’s worthy efforts of turning his dream in to reality and to bring Haryana state at international stage on much bigger level.

Last year Haryana Government also announced a reward for the hockey players of the state, that whosoever score a goal in any international match’ would get a cash incentive of Rs 10,000 for each goal scored by him. This will also encourage the young children to take up this game and push them to excel in the international arena.

"One of our players from Kurar, Sandeep Antil, has been part of the Indian junior team and did well in the PHL also. We have the support of people like former India captain Dilip Tirkey and Olympian M K Kaushik. Though funds are a big problem, but we are glad by the enthusiasm and efforts of the youngsters," Chauhan added.

"What we want is support in the form of coaches and facilities, more than money," Chauhan opined.

For Jai Bharat Charitable and Welfare Trust, it’s a long journey that will have plenty of obstacles lying up in their way in achieving their key prospect, but it is surely a great step for the benefit of the game, that too at a time when the IHF is pushing hard on promoting the game at grassroots level, this initiative will certainly put everyone in good stead that are aiming for the similar goal.

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October 6, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Indeed a great effort from former Indian player.
There is a need to work at the grassroot level, and whoever thinks/wants to contribute to the system should work this way. Only working at 'mass' level can really mobilize the things and produce results. This is biggest form of patriotism.

My sincere salutation to the people behind it.
Keep it up.



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